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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Mid-Year Review in Elementary Music

We're just coming back from break and it's time to get back into the swing of things! I always start off in January with some time to review the fundamentals I introduced to each grade in the fall. Between the chaos of December and the break from school, everyone gets a little distracted and needs a refresher before we're ready to dive into anything new. At the same time, I want to get everyone singing, playing, and moving as much as possible to remind everyone of how much fun music class is! Here are my favorite ways to review with my elementary music students mid-year.

1. Vocabulary/ expression

My favorite way to review dynamic, tempo, and articulation vocabulary and symbols is to put all the words/ symbols on the board and have students sing a song while matching whichever one I point to. I just focus on one area at a time- so just dynamics, just tempo words, etc- and once they get the hang of it I have students come and point to lead the class. It's a great way to throw in some "just for fun" songs that you may not get to use in class otherwise, and it's a really simple way to review with the whole class. This even works with my youngest students to review musical contrasts, like fast/ slow, and the 4 voices- I just use pictures instead of words (I print them out and either just lay them on the floor or put them up on the board).

2. Form

In my brain learning form = movement. Always. I love reviewing form concepts by having students use contrasting movements for contrasting sections- they can either come up with their own, or you can assign specific movements to specific sections. They can also use different props or body parts for different sections- maybe they use a scarf for the A section, a beanbag for the B section, and just their bodies for C, or they use their arms for A, legs for B, and face for C.

3. Pitch identification

I incorporate pitch and rhythm concepts into lessons all year long, but I like to do some focused review of notation/ identification when we come back from break. One of the easiest ways to see how well students know these quickly in a way that's fun for them is with Music Note Races- I wrote a whole post on this activity, which you can read below, but the basic idea is to split the class up into teams and have them race to write the note or name the note. It's a super-simple concept but it works!

4. Rhythm reading

It's not hard to make rhythm review exciting: just use percussion instruments! :) I usually just throw a few measures that include the new rhythmic elements they're learning on the board, practice speaking/ counting them, then let students choose an instrument to use to play them. Often students walk in the first day from break thinking of that one instrument they can't wait to play- this is their chance! You can read more examples and step-by-step directions for how I do this in point #3 of this post:

I hope this gives you some fresh ideas for re-establishing that solid foundation mid-year to ensure success all the way to the finish line! For lesson ideas to start the new school year, head over to this post:

And for review games I like to use at the end of the school year, check out this post:

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